The shoulder has an intricate framework of muscles that surrounds the joint known as the rotator cuff. When you feel or hear popping sounds while exercising, throwing or simply moving your shoulder up and down, it is due to an injury to your rotator cuff. Anatomically, these muscles are referred to by the acronym SITS, which stands for supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. Corrective exercises can be done with rubber tubing and light weights to help treat the popping sound.
Horizontal rotations work your rotator cuff muscles with the help of rubber resistance bands. You can use the ones with handles, or wrap the ends of the band around your hands. Stand on the band with your feet shoulder-width apart, grab a handle in each hand and lift your arms up to your sides. At this point, your upper arms should be parallel to the floor, your elbows should be bent 90 degrees and your fists should be facing the floor. In a steady motion, rotate your arms so your palms face forward and hold for a second. Slowly lower and repeat 10 to 12 times. You can also do this exercise by holding weight plates, soup cans or light dumbbells in your hands.
External rotations work your SITS muscles with a light dumbbell or soup can. Lie on your left side with your right upper arm resting on your side, the dumbbell in your hand and your lower arm hanging down in front of your stomach. Your elbow should be bent 90 degrees at this point. Keeping your upper arm tight against your side, rotate your arm up as high as possible and hold for a second. Slowly lower and repeat. After doing 10 to 12 reps, switch sides.
Internal rotations are the opposite of external rotations, and you can do them with a resistance band. Attach the band to a doorknob, stand with your left shoulder facing the door and grab the end of the band with your left hand. At this point, your upper arm should be tight against your side, your elbow should be bent 90 degrees and your lower arm should be at a slight angle to your left side. Keeping your upper arm tight against your side, rotate your arm as you push the band across your stomach. Slowly rotate your arm back out and repeat. After doing 10 to 12 reps, switch sides.
Angled Front Raises
Angled front raises work your rotator cuff muscles and anterior deltoids, which are found on the front of your shoulders. You can do these with light dumbbells or soup cans. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the weights by the outside of your thighs with your palms facing out. In a steady motion, lift the dumbbells at an angle that is halfway between the front and sides of your body. While doing this, keep your arms straight and do not move your arms any higher than parallel to the floor. Your thumbs should be facing the floor at this point. Slowly lower and repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions.